There were 23 fatalities worldwide involving aerial work platforms, also known as mobile elevating work platforms, during the first half of 2014, according to findings from the International Powered Access Federation’s accident database. The findings report nine deaths from overturn, eight from falls from height, three from entrapment, two from electrocution and one from “technical/mechanical.” One of the entrapment deaths involved a person on the ground being crushed between the base of the AWP and another structure.
Eleven of the deaths involved mobile booms and 10 static booms. The machine involved in two of the deaths was not yet confirmed. Thirteen of the fatalities occurred in the United States, two in Germany, and one each in Australia, Austria, Colombia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom. While safety standards are relatively strong in the United States, the volume of machines in use is far higher than in other countries on the list.
The database tracking aerial accidents is in its third year.
“More companies are participating in the accident reporting project, which is generating more data in its third year, but it is too early to draw comparisons,” said Chris Wraith, IPAF technical & safety executive. “This is a unique ground-breaking program by the powered access industry to undertake ongoing analysis to learn lessons and improve safety worldwide. Preliminary findings from the accident reporting project have provided a rich source for improving IPAF’s training programs and safety initiatives, for example, with regards to the safe loading and unloading of machines, and managing electrocution risks when working near power lines.”
IPAF’s accident data is based on information collected in a number of ways: directly reported to the IPAF accident database at www.ipaf.org/accident, information obtained by IPAF staff worldwide, and information collated from press releases and news reports. The comprehensiveness of the data cannot be guaranteed, but where appropriate, action is taken to verify the facts. The data is updated should relevant information become available.
“Accidents do occur, but we should keep in perspective that with over 1 million rental units worldwide, MEWPs are one of the safest ways to do temporary work at height,” said IPAF CEO Tim Whiteman. “And IPAF’s accident reporting project is designed to make a safe industry even safer.”
All manufacturers, rental companies, contractors and users are encouraged to report any known fatal and serious accidents involving mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) and mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) worldwide at the IPAF accident database. The project is open to IPAF members and non-members, and includes an option for anonymous reporting. To register and to report an accident involving a MEWP or an MCWP, go to www.ipaf.org/accident.